August 4, 2018

I had the opportunity a few days ago to read a column on atheism in El Espectador, and to delight in how easy it is to find like-minded thinkers even in a country as overtly Catholic as Colombia. Valentina Coccia’s “Una vida sin Dios” is a meditation on whether one needs religion to live a full and happy life, and it’s an op-ed that wisely focuses inward, using the example of her own upbringing, with a deeply religious mother and… Read more

July 25, 2018

I suspect it’s clear by now, to readers of this blog, that I am more interested in discussing proactive humanism than in waging war against persons of faith and their beliefs. I’m not naive, though: I know it’s neither as sexy nor as interesting to talk about how we can all strive to be better humans from our respective cosmological positions. How much more delicious the click-bait, when someone uses fighting words for or against religion on the internet! But… Read more

July 16, 2018

The other day a family member wrote me with a “joke”: an email that contained, simply, the words “Numbers 23:22”. It’s a common set-up for online atheists–finding humour in Biblical issues (moral as well as factual) that undermine the story’s plausibility from a literalist perspective. We atheists can, as I have mentioned before, generally discuss a number of failed prophecies, boorish conduct on the part of supposed godheads, scriptural contradictions, or other clear evidence that the writers of the Bible… Read more

July 8, 2018

It’s been a wild ride in Colombia this past week, if you’re up on your infotainment outrage. After all, Colombia lost to England in a heartbreaker of a World Cup game with baffling upsets: a 90-3′ goal to tie up a match muddled by a slew of yellow cards against Colombia; a fudged reffing call that stopped play just seconds before Colombia scored an overtime goal; and a shoot-out with a brutal cross-bar miss that turned deafening cheers across the… Read more

June 22, 2018

As outrage spread in response to the U.S. policy of separating children from parents at the border, so too did a number of memes invoking the Bible to advocate for human welfare. As a humanist, I value the politics behind these posts–the deep compassion for fellow human beings, and the desire to correct the problems humans make in this world–but I wince at the implicit religious message, especially when these memes are shared by fellow atheists. When we on the… Read more

June 18, 2018

The Russian World Cup is well underway, and whenever I catch a glimpse of Colombia’s colours in posters and TV spots, I feel a bewildering sense of pride: Bewildering because I realize that if I had moved anywhere else in the world, I would likely feel this same sentiment for another set of colours. Bewildering, too, because I know how much I still respond to the Canadian brand, simply due to my place of birth. Branding is a normal part… Read more

June 9, 2018

If you believe that human beings are responsible for fixing the world’s problems, populism can be a nightmare. This week in Canada, Doug Ford, a populist leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, won a majority provincial government on the back of an unfinished campaign platform (and absentee candidates in local debates), voter-bait like one-dollar beer and the promise to fire a person the premier has no authority to fire, and a host of well-channelled private-business-fortune ire against career… Read more

May 31, 2018

One reason I resist strict religious/secular binaries is because shared human behaviours often warrant closer scrutiny from humanists across the spectrum. We see this often enough when secular tyrants are wearyingly held up as signs that we “need” religion to avoid brutal dictatorship. At one extreme, theists argue that such heinous leadership is a direct result of faithlessness, avoiding (or #NoTrueScotsman-ing) the tremendous number of tyrants from spiritual backgrounds, too. At the other extreme, atheists argue that these figures simply… Read more

May 26, 2018

Colombians will rarely ask you your religion. Why would they, when “Catholic” is the default faith in this South-American country, where makeshift shrines to the Virgin Mary can be found in most public spaces and ¡Bien, gracias a Dios! serves as the natural response to “¿Cómo estás?” But when I do have to explain my beliefs, as a secular humanist recently relocated from Canada to this beautiful, complex social context, I draw heavily on the second part of that phrase:… Read more

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